Gov. Dunleavy to make Alaska’s third COVID-19 pandemic disaster official

A white man in a blue zipper jacket sits at a table and speaks
Gov. Mike Dunleavy (Office of Gov. Dunleavy)

Gov. Mike Dunleavy plans to issue another 30-day disaster declaration in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, his office announced Thursday.

Dunleavy will issue the declaration by Monday and it will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 16.

In the announcement, Dunleavy said while the first shipment of a vaccine is expected any day, the threat the virus poses is still with us.

“We can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said in a statement. “But the next 30 days are crucial to advance therapeutic treatments and the vaccination plan so we can defeat this virus and begin returning to normal.”

Dunleavy issued his first COVID-19 disaster declaration in March 2020, and the Legislature extended it until November. Some legislators raised concern before Dunleavy issued a new declaration in mid-November that he lacked the legal authority to do so without the Legislature meeting again.

But Acting Attorney General Ed Sniffen emphasized at the time the new declaration was based on a new disaster, citing the rising number of cases in the state. The governor’s office said that the legal basis for the Dec. 16 declaration will be provided when the declaration is formally issued.